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Old 02-07-2019, 09:00 PM   #921
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Re: New Sci Fi Setting Seeds

100,000 tiny worldlets share an orbit around their star. At only 40km wide, they shouldn't have appreciable gravity, let alone atmospheres, but that's not the oddest part: these planetoids share a band of atmosphere some 25,000km wide.

This river of air is somehow contained (perhaps by the same force that makes the planetoids stay apart from one another, and grants them 1g at the surface). Much of it is like the upper atmosphere of Earth, becoming thin near the edges and tropospheric within 100km of a planetoid.

Naturally, human beings live on these worlds. On average, the worldlets are about 9-10 thousand km apart (at extremes, a b-52 can fly 18k km without refueling, for comparison), and given their size and number, they have about the same surface area as Earth. Some are oceanic (many, in fact). Some are nearly all desert (perhaps due to some kind of air current phenomenon in the air belt). The most densely populated ones are temperate, with moderate quantities of surface water.

It is currently a time of interplanetary empires. About 400 years ago, semaphore signals were first used to communicate among the countless worlds; a few wind-tossed fire balloons were successful before that, but completely unpredictable as a method of communication. Some 280 years ago, the first powered flight was developed, and the technology (and the empires that commanded it) has spread to most worlds as it matured. The most modern aircraft can be small shrikes with a single pilot, or great vast behemoths with hundreds of crewmen.

I posit that the small population pools will slow the advancement of technology compared to Earth's history. The flying machines these people use are in many ways like mid-wwII aircraft. Props, limited electronics, and a sense of experimentalism are likely in any design.

Radio is known in theory, but it's not been developed yet. Putting it into any kind of practice calls for a heroic inventor. Jet propulsion, advanced firearms, clever logistical tricks and computing machines... these are all hypotheticals that a clever PC could invent or encounter.

As the empires and free agents chart and trade the skies, they encounter remnants of cities far older than anything in the settled world... dead or deserted worldlets are known, of course, but some have ruins untouched for a thousand years... and two thousand... and ten thousand....

Even the oldest ruins show signs of advanced metalworking beyond even the achievements of the greatest empires. Metals that haven't corroded even though the stone they rest on has eroded beneath them. vaults containing strange machines unrecognizable to man....

Who -- or what -- is wiping clean the slate of history? And how soon will it strike again?

To continue, that's the larger question, but the smaller questions are no less interesting sources for adventure: What's within these ruins here? Why did the Imperial Outpost on Devarlorian go dark? Who assassinated the Chancellor mid-flight to the council meeting? When did the galley crew last clean out the kettles? Where can we escape the High Church's dictates?

Last edited by PTTG; 02-08-2019 at 03:11 AM.
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